SINGAPORE - This year's National Day Parade (NDP) theme song, One Singapore, may seem to have hit all the wrong notes, but Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said a whole "spectrum of responses" is to be expected with every new song.
Launched by organisers of the parade last week, the upbeat pop song was quickly slammed by netizens, who labelled it "childish and cheesy". Others have also questioned the need to have a new song every year.
"All of us will have our favourite, so I leave you to have your own favourite," said Dr Ng on Saturday on the sidelines of the National Day Parade National Education Show 2, a preview of the parade for Primary 5 pupils.
He was on the parade grounds to meet participants and also stayed to watch the show with Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.
The parade's theme song has always been performed by local artists. But this time, organisers decided to let it be sung by a choir of 68 ordinary Singaporeans, in an effort to showcase their diversity.
When asked if a new song is needed every year, Dr Ng said that he would leave that to the NDP committee.
"The Minister of Defence mustn't try to crimp artistic style," said Dr Ng.
In response to queries, Dr Ng, who chairs the Haze Inter-Ministerial Committee, said that there are contingency plans in place should the haze come back.
"Let's just hope that we won't have a situation where we have to activate the contingency plans, but obviously the contingency plans are first and foremost to protect the health of the participants."
A total of 6,000 people are participating in this year's celebrations.
Dr Ng said that he was proud and impressed with the participants, in particular Muslims who are observing fast.
"It's really a wonderful spirit, and I think they do it because they love to be part of NDP and they just want to show their affection for their country," he said.
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